BOONE, N.C.—The North Carolina Technology Student Association (NCTSA), which is the state chapter of the national Technology Student Association (TSA), held its Western Region Conference at Appalachian State University on Friday, Feb. 17.
NCTSA chapters from middle and high schools in the southwestern, western and northwestern regions were invited to attend. Over 600 students from 30 schools participated in this one-day event focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competitions.
Teams or individuals competed in 50 STEM-related competitions, such as Architectural Design, Catapult Design, Coding, Children’s Stories, Dragster Design, Robotics and more. Judges selected first, second and third place winners for each.
Participating schools were:
- Ashe County Middle School, Warrensville
- Atkins High School, Winston-Salem
- Avery High School, Newland
- Avery Middle School, Newland
- David W. Butler High School, Matthews
- Central Cabarrus High School, Concord
- Charlotte Engineering Early College, Charlotte
- Cherryville High School, Cherryville
- East Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte
- East Rutherford Middle School, Bostic
- Hanes Magnet School, Winston-Salem
- Highland School of Technology, Gastonia
- William A. Hough High School, Cornelius
- Independence High School, Charlotte
- Ardrey Kell High School, Charlotte
- Robert F. Kennedy Middle School, Charlotte
- Lake Norman Charter School, Huntersville
- Liberty Middle School, Morganton
- Mallard Creek High School, Charlotte
- Martin L. Nesbitt Discovery Academy, Asheville
- Dalton L. McMichael High School, Mayodan
- Morehead High School, Eden
- Mount Pleasant Middle School, Mt. Pleasant
- Providence High School, Charlotte
- Jay M. Robinson High School, Concord
- Southern School of Energy and Sustainability
- Watauga High School, Boone
- West Forsyth High School, Clemmons
- West Wilkes High School, Millers Creek
- West Wilkes Middle School, Wilkesboro
In the 50-event competition, some schools won first place in multiple events. These schools were: Atkins High School, East Mecklenburg High School, Hanes Magnet School, Ardrey Kell High School, Robert F. Kennedy Middle School, Mallard Creek High School, Dalton L. McMichael High School, Providence High School, Jay M. Robinson High School and West Wilkes Middle School.
Since 2000, this annual event has been hosted by the career and technical education program (CTE) in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Appalachian’s Reich College of Education, along with the Technology Education Collegiate Association student club.
Dr. Jerianne Taylor, professor and CTE program director, serves as the executive director and state advisor for NCTSA. Regarding the conference she stated, “The Western Region NCTSA Conference enables our pre-service teachers to connect with regional schools, teachers and their students that have strong STEM based CTE programs. Our pre-service teachers are able to see how regional middle and high school students tackle problem-based learning and their results.”
For students who visit Appalachian during the conference, Taylor said, “this may be their first visit to a college campus, which in itself can be very defining. Our goal is to plant the seed that students should not only consider attending Appalachian but consider teaching and/or pursuing Appalachian’s STEM based programs.”
Finally, for Appalachian, as a whole, and the Reich College of Education specifically, Taylor remarked, “This is chance to give back to the region and showcase why we are still the teachers college of the UNC system and the state of North Carolina.”
The Western Region Conference also serves to prepare students for the NCTSA State Conference. This year’s state event will be held April 2-4, in Greensboro.
About the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is an area of public education that focuses on providing students with opportunities in high skill, high demand and high wage areas. Appalachian State University prepares individuals to teach students about these areas at the middle and high school level, at the postsecondary level, in industry and through cooperative extension agencies. Appalachian is the only institution in the state that prepares CTE teachers, and it is widely recognized as providing top-quality teachers for the public schools.
About the Reich College of Education
Appalachian offers one of the largest undergraduate teacher preparation programs in North Carolina, graduating about 500 teachers a year. The Reich College of Education enrolls approximately 2,400 students in its bachelor’s, master’s, education specialist and doctoral degree programs. With so many teacher education graduates working in the state, there is at least one RCOE graduate teaching in every county in North Carolina.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.